Advocates say canceling rent, mortgage payments during pandemic more helpful than delay of payment

By Lisa Deaderick : sandiegouniontribune – excerpt

San Diego Rent Strike 2020 is one local organization advocating for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic

While the moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic provided initial relief, the question of how to pay that back rent continues to hover. If the work environment we were once familiar with remains unsafe, and people can’t rely on the one-time stimulus check or unemployment benefits to cover all of their necessities, the likelihood that most people can afford to pay even one month of these delayed payments is pretty low.

One part of the response to the looming accumulation of this kind of debt has been to protest for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments during the pandemic. Not a hold or suspension that requires the missed payments to be made later, but an outright cancellation of having to make those payments at all…(more)

Column: Housing debate needs to get facts straight

By Michael Smolens : sandiegouniontribune – excerpt

California needs more housing, no question. But how much housing the state actually needs is a big question.

As a candidate and then governor, Gavin Newsom repeatedly said that the state needed 3.5 million additional homes by 2025. That figure became something of an article of faith and helped drive the debate over what the state needed to do to reach that goal.

Disputed legislation was pushed that would strip local governments of some control over land development to encourage greater housing density everywhere — from heavily-trafficked transit corridors to single-family-home neighborhoods.

A study released in August not only raises doubts about that 3.5 million figure, but says the actual need is more like 1.5 million housing units. That’s still a lot, but if it becomes part of the ongoing debate, the lower figure could potentially change the political dynamics surrounding it… (more)

A lot of figures used in future growth projections were based on assumptions that California should expect a steady growth in the economy based on the high tech industry and a robust world economy. Given the number of citizens leaving the state, and the decline in small businesses and traditional jobs, and the current decline in immigrants and seasonal workers, it is important to consider a less robust growth in population than was originally projected. That would mean a lot less demand for the high-end housing that has driven the rush to build more dense housing. Recent votes against higher taxes are also a cause for alarm to those who anticipate a non-ending source of capital for public infrastructure projects. The political appetite for growth and density is declining as social problems take center stage and greed and corruption are exposed. We need new leadership to take the stage, put away the twenty year plans, and deal with today’s reality.

2019-20 Budget – Considerations for the Governor’s Housing Plan

LAO : The Legislative Analyst’s Office
The California Legislature’s Nonpartisan Fiscal and Policy Advisor

Summary

Housing in California has long been more expensive than most of the rest of the country. Addressing California’s housing crisis is one of the most difficult challenges facing the state. The 2019-20 Governor’s budget includes various proposals aimed at improving the affordability of housing in the state. Specifically, the Governor proposes (1) providing planning and production grants to local governments, (2) expanding the state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, (3) establishing a new state housing tax credit program targeting relatively higher-income households, and (4) expanding a loan program for middle-income housing production. The Governor’s housing proposals raise questions about which populations to prioritize. The Legislature will need to decide if it agrees with the Governor’s approach to spread the state’s housing resources among broader income levels—including middle-income households—or whether it prefers to target the state’s resources toward the Californians most in need of housing assistance. Because the need for housing assistance outstrips current resources and there are fewer policy options to address affordability for low-income households, we suggest the Legislature consider prioritizing General Fund resources towards programs that assist low-income households. Given that the Governor’s proposals are largely conceptual at this stage, we highlight key questions the Legislature might want to ask the administration as it considers the merits of the proposals, including: (1) the timeline for awarding new affordable housing funding, (2) plans to fund future maintenance costs associated with affordable housing developments, and (3) the state’s approach for administering the newly proposed state housing tax credit program. Lastly, we note that the enormity of California’s housing challenges suggest that policy makers explore a variety of solutions. While the Governor proposes a few approaches to address the state’s high housing costs, the Legislature could pursue a variety of other tactics that address these and/or other facets of the state’s housing crisis.

Conclusion

Addressing California’s housing crisis is one of the most difficult challenges facing the state’s policy makers. Millions of Californians struggle to find housing that is both affordable and suits their needs. The crisis also is a long time in the making, the culmination of decades of shortfalls in housing construction. And just as the crisis has taken decades to develop, it will take many years or decades to correct.

In light of the state’s housing crisis, the Governor’s interest in investing state resources on affordable housing is commendable. However, we questions the expansion of housing assistance programs towards broader income levels when other options are available to assist middle‑income households cope with high housing costs. Furthermore, given the conceptual nature of many of the Governor’s housing proposals, we highlight key questions the Legislature should ask the administration as it considers the merits of the proposals… (more)

Download pdf of full report

 

Google plans to add tens of thousands of new jobs as it expands in 14 states

Edward C. Baig : usatoday – excerpt

Want a job at Google?

Google plans to hire tens of thousands of employees across the U.S. this year, through investments in new data centers and offices. CEO Sundar Pichai announced Google’s plans in a blog post Wednesday.

According to Pichai, Google’s investment of more than $13 billion in 2019 will lead to major expansion in 14 states and also create more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

“These new investments will give us the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees, and enable the creation of more than 10,000 new construction jobs,” he posted… (more)

Good news for the over-saturated cities in SF Bay who have had to take all the growing pains of rapidly (or is that rabidly) expanding tech firms. Good idea for them to grow elsewhere for a while.

California Lawmakers Push for Oversight of Delta Tunnels Project

By Nick Cahill : courthousenews – excerpt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A group of Northern California lawmakers seeking more sway over a mammoth $17 billion water project introduced a proposal Friday that would require new construction contracts to be reviewed by the Legislature.

The Legislative Delta Caucus says because of the scope of the California WaterFix, the project should require more scrutiny from both the public and lawmakers now that former Gov. Jerry Brown has left office.

Brown fiercely advocated for the expensive public works project that he and supporters believe will both update the state’s aging water delivery infrastructure and protect it against sea level rise and other effects of climate change. Also known as the Delta Tunnels, the project calls for two 30-mile tunnels that would funnel water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to aqueducts that supply farmers and cities farther south.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, believes his proposal will shed new light on the “flawed” project that environmental groups bitterly oppose….

Senate Bill 204 would require the state agencies in charge of WaterFix, namely the state Department of Water Resources, to submit information about pending contracts with private companies to the Legislature before finalizing deals…

Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frazier, whose district covers parts of the delta, called SB 204 a “common-sense, good-government bill.”. (more)

 

Gov. Newsom must mop up Brown’s water mess

By Jonas Minton : secbee – excerpt

Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up…

Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up…

During his last month, Brown quietly signed an agreement with the Trump administration to transfer water from Southern California and portions of the Bay Area to corporate farms in the San Joaquin Valley. In return, the Trump administration dropped its threatened opposition to Brown’s legacy project — the massive tunnels that would divert water from the San Francisco Bay Delta. This was done with no public notice, hearing or environmental analysis…

Scientists have concluded that the effects of this closed-door deal are likely to cause the extinction of multiple California fish species. As a result, there are already over 20 lawsuits from water districts, farmers and environmentalists… (more)

 

 

California sues Huntington Beach to force it to plan low-income housing

: sfchronicle – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — The state sued the Orange County city of Huntington Beach on Friday to force it to plan for more affordable housing, part of a campaign by Gov. Gavin Newsom to boost construction in California as residents grapple with soaring housing costs.

Newsom said Huntington Beach has refused to meet a state mandate to provide new housing for low-income people. He promised that cities that do not do their part will be “held to account.”… (more)

Huntington Beach is not alone. Newsom sued San Francisco over the state’s right to control development on the city shoreline.

Major Regional Housing Plan – CASA Compact discussion on KQED Forum

Re: KQED Forum on CASA (audio track included)Monday at 9:00 am

Host: Rachael Myrow and Guests: Susan Kirsch, Founder, Livable California;
Michael Covarrubias, CASA Co-Chair, CEO, TMG Partners and Guy Marzorati, reporter, KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk.

See https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101869236/major-housing-plan-gets-approval-from-mtc-association-of-bay-area-governments

Who will pay for the CASA Compact programs if they are implemented? Who will finance a new regional development organization composed of unelected officials with authority to collecting new taxes? It feels as if the major theme is to use our taxes against us to create a dense living situation that we oppose.

The unelected bureaucracies that keep us stuck in traffic

By Jackie Lavalleye : californiapolicycenter – excerpt

… In December 1991, the role of the Associations of Governments was expanded by passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. This law provided more power over planning to metropolitan areas; thereby, increasing the authority of metropolitan planning organizations over transportation-related activities. In short, every project related to roads, pedestrians, traffic, and all other issues of relevance to transportation must be discussed by, coordinated with, and approved by these agencies…

Four of the largest Associations of Governments in California are the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). SCAG is the largest Association of Government in the country based on population and geographic territory size. MTC also has shared responsibilities with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). As of late, MTC and ABAG have been working toward consolidating their staffs for improved efficiencies… (more)

This article from 2017, explains the creation and goals of the regional state agencies.

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